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Mississippi divorce could be complicated by pets

For some people, there is nothing they would not do for their pets. They buy gourmet pet food and ensure the animals are well-groomed and have fun toys. Unfortunately, when the dog’s owners go through a divorce, issues involving the pet can cause delays in court proceedings. Mississippi couples could learn from another couple who have spent over a year fighting over their dog.

The woman in the case currently has possession of the dog. The man claims that he would be content with visitation rights, saying that the dog is like a child to him. However, most courts treat pets as property and are reluctant to orchestrate a visitation schedule involving pets.

This particular case has been further complicated by an order of protection against the man. He claims that he drove by the house one day and found the dog outside and alone; upon seeing him, the dog jumped into the car. His estranged wife, however, claims that he broke into her house to get the dog. In their most recent hearing, the judge stated that he would not order mediation when there was an order of protection in place. While the woman claims he is simply attempting to prolong their proceedings, he says that he will continue to fight for the dog.

Many people in Mississippi are strongly attached to their pets. Some people who are familiar with such situations suggest that it may be easier to come to an agreement on such matters outside of the court. Prolonging proceedings can lengthen the time to finalize the divorce as well and increasing the cost. It is possible to settle such issues agreeably and without animosity.

Source: Chicago Sun-Times, "Pepper the pooch is the focus of a divorce dispute", Stefano Esposito, July 21, 2014

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